Dog walking banned in Beijing city parks

The Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau published a blacklist of uncivilised behaviours in public parks, including activities such as walking pets, making loud noises, digging wild vegetables or fishing.
The Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau published a blacklist of uncivilised behaviours in public parks, including activities such as walking pets, making loud noises, digging wild vegetables or fishing.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK ) - The authorities in Beijing have banned the walking of dogs in city parks in a recently published municipal regulation, sparking heated public discussion.

The Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau published a blacklist of uncivilised behaviours in public parks, adding activities such as walking pets, making loud noises, digging wild vegetables or fishing.

There have long been complaints that some dog owners do not tie up their dogs in parks, putting visitors in danger. Owners' refusal to clean up their dog's droppings has also annoyed many park goers.

As a result, the bureau listed dog walking on its blacklist.

To ensure the effectiveness of the blacklist, the authority has posted the rules in all parks, and some 1,000 volunteers will watch for violations.

Mr Liu Jianhua, leader of the volunteer team, said they will try to persuade visitors who fail to obey the rules to not do anything to harm the park environment.

The regulation has triggered discussion among the public, especially pet owners.

"I feel like I have become inferior to others since I started raising my dog because there are too many restrictions and limits for dog owners," said Mr Liu Zhe, who lives near Yuyuantan Park in Haidian district.

Mr Liu, 30, said his residential community has also banned dog walking to prevent them from biting people.

"I cannot walk my dog on roads, nor the residential areas," he said. "I usually walked my dog in the park near my home. Sometimes, I run with it, which makes me feel good. Now, I cannot take it to the park. I don't know where I can be with my dog except at home."

In countries such as the United States and many in Europe, dogs play with people in parks, on roads and pretty much everywhere, Mr Liu said.

"I envy them so much," he said. "Dogs are real friends there."

However, not all residential communities have banned dog walking. Many communities in Beijing have set up facilities for dog owners to dispose of their dog droppings.

White-collar worker Li Wen, 22, said it is too strict to ban all dogs from parks.

"There are many different types of dogs... Some big, dangerous dogs should not be taken into the parks because there are many kids and old people in the parks. However, some dogs are not aggressive at all."

Despite the opposition, there are voices that support the regulation.

Ms Du Meilian, 63, who has retired and now is taking care of her two-year-old grandson in Beijing, said that while she thinks a full ban on dogs is not necessary, there is a need for some dog owners to be more considerate.

"I always keep a distance from dogs when I am with my grandson," she said. "It's understandable that the government wants the parks to be safe for every visitor."